The Minneapolis-based Walker Art Center has announced a two-year grant of nearly $626,000 from the Bush Foundation to experiment with cross-disciplinary presentations of its collections and new outreach approaches.
Awarded as part of a new partnership between the center and the foundation, the grant will support the Walker's Expanding the Rules of Engagement With Artists and Audiences and Fostering Creative Capital in our Community initiative, which aims to change how the museum communicates with its constituents, engages artists and cultural leaders, and interacts with its audiences. Components of the initiative — one of several being launched as part of the Walker's five-year strategic plan — include an experimental gallery guide, the implementation of Web 2.0 resources, and efforts to make audiences more active participants as co-creators, contributors, and advocates of Walker programs.
While the grant is the last awarded through the Bush Foundation's Large Cultural Organization Development Fund program, it also represents the foundation's emerging focus on supporting courageous leadership. Past Bush Foundation grants to the Walker have included a $1 million award in 1999 and a $725,000 award in 2003.
"With this grant to the Walker Art Center, the foundation gets a one-two punch," said Bush Foundation vice president Pamela Wheelock. "We plug in to the courageous leadership of [Walker Art Center director] Olga Viso, who epitomizes the type of community leadership the foundation strives to recognize and support, and we leverage the willingness of this significant organization to refocus its programming on engaging the community. We'll be watching to see what exciting new initiatives the Walker and the community co-create."